Pike County Conservation District: How Your Backyard Activities Affect Your Lake Webinars

Pike County Conservation District Watershed Specialist Rachel Posavetz, left, and Senior Resource Conservationist Ellen Enslin will lead the free “Ways to Help Your Lake Stay Healthy” workshop. Image provided by Pike County Conservation District.

To help residents keep local lakes clean, the Pike County Conservation District is hosting a free, three-part webinar series titled “How Your Backyard Activities Affect Your Lake.” The webinars include:

The webinars are free, but registration is required. Click here for more information and to register. 

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Northumberland County Conservation District & NRCS Hold Outreach Event

Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From Ashely Lenig, written by Janette Lesher
Reprinted from 9/9/19 USDA NRCS PA Weekly News Flash

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Northumberland County Conservation District (NCCD) offices recently worked together to hold an outreach event in the Warrior Run Watershed as part of the newly selected National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) initiative.

The Warrior Run basin is a priority watershed of the USDA-NRCS and is targeted in the NWQI program. Agriculture is the dominant land use in the Warrior Run Watershed. Riparian buffer zones are nearly nonexistent in the agricultural lands. Livestock also have unlimited access to streambanks in parts of the watershed, resulting in streambank trampling and severe erosion. Producers in the watershed consist of English, Amish, and Mennonite farmers.

As our team began working on a Watershed Plan, we discovered there was a large sector of producers with whom we had not worked. We knew if we wanted to work with them, we needed to get to know them. It was decided to have an ice cream social – homemade, of course!

Recently, we met a landowner whose farm is located next to Warrior Run, so we knew that it was the place we needed to bring farmers together. After explaining our plan to him, he said: “Invite them, and they will come.” Without using any flyers or news releases, the farmer simply invited his neighbors over to his farm.

As we were preparing for this event— expecting 10-15 producers—the landowner told us we had to step up our game, because about 50 people had told him they would attend. Ryan Cherwinski, NCCD Ag Technician, did not disappoint anyone as there was plenty of delicious homemade ice cream to go around.

As NCCD and NRCS staff served ice cream, families sat by the stream. Gary Walters with DEP was gracious enough to demonstrate electro-shocking on the stream. As he began catching fish, the farmers lined up on the stream bank to see what was in the buckets. Clusters of producers started to gather around agency staff to learn about stream health, best management practices, and what we are trying to achieve in the Warrior Run Watershed. As the parents listened and asked questions, the children were able to get their feet wet and help with a macroinvertebrate kick in the stream. NCCD Watershed Specialist Chantel Shambach helped the children identify what they found.

Once the families got back on their bikes and rode home to their farms with a new appreciation of the watershed in which they lived, NRCS and NCCD staff packed up their supplies and left with 50 new friends and many contacts of farmers to visit in the next few weeks. Who would have ever thought that a meeting with no flyers, no PowerPoints, and no set agenda would be successful? Our team had some hesitations but is certainly thrilled with the outcome. We look forward to doing other similar events in the watershed again.

Many thanks to all those on the team who helped make this a successful event:
NCCD Ag Technician – Ryan Cherwinski
NCCD Watershed Specialist – Chantel Shambach
DEP Water Quality Division Chief – Gary Walters
NRCS Civil Engineering Technician – Pam Richardson
NRCS Soil Conservationist – David McCoy
NRCS District Conservationist – Janette Lesher

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Join Us for PACD Spring Region Meetings

The PACD Spring Region Meetings are coming soon! Please review the announcement for your region meeting using the link below and be sure to RSVP to the host as directed.

Topics will include the state budget and environmental stewardship fund, conservation district week, third party reviewer legislation, a motion from the PACD Ways and Means Committee concerning a potential dues increase, a PACD building update, and an update to the PACD Directors Listserve.

PACD North Central Region Meeting
March 14, 2019 
Clinton County Conservation District Office, Mill Hall, PA 

PACD South Central Region Meeting
March 19, 2019
Cumberland County Conservation District, Carlisle, PA

PACD North West Region Meeting
March 27, 2019
Mercer County Conservation District, Mercer, PA

PACD South West Region Meeting
March 28, 2019
Westmoreland Conservation District, Greensburg, PA

PACD South East Region Meeting
April 4, 2019
Henning’s Market, Harleysville, PA

PACD North East Region Meeting
April 5, 2019
DEP Northeast Regional Office, Wilkes Barre, PA 

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Agricultural Conservation Technical “Boot Camp” Training Application Period Opens

Photo by Holly Hunt.

Applications are now being accepted for the Agricultural Conservation Technical Training (“Boot Camp” Basic level and Level II). Conservation district staff are encouraged to take advantage of these free, week-long training opportunities which include both classroom learning and experience in the field.

Basic Level –April 1-5, 2019

Level II – April 29-May 3, 2019

If you do not receive confirmation from PACD, you will not be admitted. No walk-ins will be accepted. Both courses are held at the Keystone Conference Center, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA (Lebanon County). Questions? Contact Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org.

These training opportunities are made possible by the following sponsors: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Conservation Commission, and the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc.

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Register Now for the 2019 Chesapeake Bay Program Conservation District and PA Agency Staff Meeting

The 2019 Chesapeake Bay Program Conservation District and PA Agency Staff Meeting will be held March 11, 2019, at the Degenstein Theater at Susquehanna University, 514 University Ave, Selinsgrove, PA 17870. The target audience for this meeting is staff from PA state agencies, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and conservation districts.

Topics include County WIP planning, PA Department of Environmental Protection program updates, conservation district project spotlights, the PA Ag Conservation Stewardship Program and more!

In the event of inclement weather, the event will be postponed to the snow date (March 13, 2019). Registrants will be notified via email 24 hours in advance if the meeting is postponed.

Click here for the full agenda and to register. The deadline to register is February 25.

This meeting is sponsored by the PA Department of Environmental Protection with administrative assistance from PACD.

Please contact Amy Brown at abrown@pacd.org with questions.

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Register Now for Respect in the Workplace: 2019 Director Training

Recent news coverage of sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement has left many wondering what they can do to ensure that their organizations are prepared to handle these kinds of issues when they arise.

In addition to matters of legal compliance and liability, understanding how to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination is important in maintaining a respectful organizational culture that allows all team members to thrive professionally. District organizational culture can affect staff recruitment, retention, and team cohesiveness, as well as community and partner relations. Effective policies are a crucial requirement for harassment-free workplaces, but focusing on the board’s role in communicating and modeling respect and appreciation for diversity is also vitally important for your district.

Respect in the Workplace, our 2019 Building for Tomorrow Director Training Program, features an interactive workshop facilitated by Mary Kay Williams of MindShift Consulting.

The program will include topics such as:

  • Understanding workplace diversity and inclusion issues
  • Defining discrimination & harassment
  • “What if” scenarios
  • Effective policy & training authorization documents
  • Steps to create awareness and lessen liability

All conservation district directors and associate directors are encouraged to attend. These sessions are free of charge and lunch will be provided.

Please click on one of the following links to register (all workshops are 10am – 3pm):

Tuesday, March 5 – Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, Wilkes-Barre
Wednesday, March 6 – Ramada Conference Center, State College
Wednesday, March 13 – Cross Creek Resort, Titusville
Thursday, March 14 – West Meeting Center, West Elizabeth
Thursday, March 21 – Woodcrest Retreat Center, Ephrata

Help us spread the word and please encourage your fellow directors to participate. Contact Matt Miller with questions.

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Thank You to All the Farm Show Volunteers!

Thank you to all the PA Farm Show volunteers for giving their time to promote the work conservation districts are doing throughout the state!

Nick Biondi and Brittany Smith from Lancaster County Conservation District staff the Farm Show booth on Sunday, January 6, 2019.

The following districts staffed the conservation district booth at the PA Farm Show:

  • Berks
  • Chester
  • Cumberland
  • Franklin
  • Lancaster
  • Lebanon
  • Schuylkill
  • Union

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Visit the Conservation District Booth at the PA Farm Show!

Conservation district booth at the PA Farm Show.

The 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show runs January 5–12, 2019 in Harrisburg and will honor agriculture’s rich heritage and promising future with this year’s theme, Inspiring Pennsylvania’s Story. Visit the Conservation District booth (co-located with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) in the GIANT Exposition Hall.

Click here to read more about the event.

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PACD Welcomes Visitors during Holiday Open House

Druckenmiller, Goshorn, McDonnell, and Shambaugh
Pictured left to right are Berks County Conservation District Manager Dean Druckenmiller, Cumberland County Conservation District Manager Carl Goshorn, Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell, and PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh.

On December 18, 2018, PACD held a holiday open house at the new office location in Harrisburg. Over 25 people stopped by to tour the new office and share holiday cheer. Special thanks to our members and partners who stopped by to see us: Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell and External Affairs Director Katie Hetherington Cunfer; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Denise Coleman and Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships Susan Marquart; State Conservation Commission’s Executive Secretary Karl Brown and Executive Assistant Barb Buckingham; Cumberland County Conservation District Manager Carl Goshorn; Berks County Conservation District Manager Dean Druckenmiller; and Dauphin County Conservation District Manager Eric Naguski.

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